Richie Murphy is set to take over permanently. Ben Brady/INPHO
stepping up

Ulster set to appoint Murphy as head coach on permanent basis

It’s understood a two-year deal is on the cards.

ULSTER ARE SET to appoint Richie Murphy as their permanent head coach beyond the end of this season.

Murphy has been the interim head coach of the northern province since March, taking on the role in the wake of previous boss Dan McFarland’s departure in February.

The 42 understands that Ulster and the IRFU are now set to hand Murphy the reins permanently, with a two-year contract thought to be on the table.

Previously a leading All-Ireland League player with Greystones, Clontarf, Carlow, and Old Belvedere, Murphy also played for his native Leinster.

He moved into professional coaching in the Leinster player development pathway before becoming a senior assistant coach with the province in 2009 and then following Joe Schmidt into the Ireland set-up in 2013.

After huge success as an assistant with Ireland, Murphy took over as the Ireland U20s head coach in 2021 and led them to Grand Slams in 2022 and 2023, as well as going very close to a third this year.

Murphy has been open about his ambitions of stepping up as a full-time head coach in the senior professional game and is now set to get that chance with Ulster.

It’s believed he has been a popular appointment as interim boss, with players appreciating the detail of his coaching and his belief in their ability to deliver more consistent performances.

Murphy will hope to help the province finish this season on a high, with Ulster currently sitting seventh in the URC table with three regular-season rounds left. 

Ulster want to be part of the URC play-offs, so need to finish in the top eight with that in mind, but with the Sharks having qualified for the Challenge Cup final, it could be that only the top seven finishers in the URC table qualify for next season’s Champions Cup.

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